Thailand beats S'pore again as top IPO market in South-east Asia

Thailand raised US$3.9 billion from 23 IPOs in the first 10 and a half months of 2020.
Thailand raised US$3.9 billion from 23 IPOs in the first 10 and a half months of 2020.PHOTO: AFP

Thailand's initial public offering market has chalked up another stellar performance, beating Singapore for the second year running as the top IPO market in South-east Asia by value of funds raised, according to research from professional services firm Deloitte.

Singapore had eight listings that raised a total of US$852 million (S$1.14 billion) in the first 101/2 months of this year.

This was dwarfed by the US$3.9 billion raised from 23 IPOs in Thailand in the same period.

Last year's competition was keener, with Thailand raising US$3 billion from 34 listings, compared with the US$2.26 billion from 11 listings in Singapore.

Thailand, South-east Asia's second-largest economy, also outdid the combined performance of the region's largest economy Indonesia, Singapore and the three other countries in Deloitte's research - Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. They raised a total of US$2.54 billion this year.

Disruptive events advisory leader at Deloitte Thailand Wilasinee Krishnamra said: "Largely driven by home-grown companies and fuelled by increasing investor interests in firms focused on consumer businesses, (Thailand's IPO market) continues to appeal strongly to investors and fund managers."

It is not all doom and gloom for Singapore's IPO scene despite its weaker performance this year.

Ms Tay Hwee Ling, disruptive events advisory leader at Deloitte South-east Asia and Singapore, said the pandemic has created new opportunities for the IPO market in Singapore.

Amid the economic uncertainty, quality companies with a larger customer base will think of raising funds through IPOs to further grow their business, she added.

Ms Tay said a key example is nanotechnology solutions provider Nanofilm Technologies International. It raised US$345 million on the Singapore Exchange's (SGX) main board, where real estate investment trusts have made up most new listings in recent years.

Ms Tay said more companies could list in the coming weeks or early next year, including firms in sectors which have been boosted by the pandemic, such as healthcare and e-commerce.

"When they are booming, it is unavoidable that they will need to raise funds to expand their capacity," she told a briefing yesterday.

She noted that Hong Kong-based financial institution AMTD International in April became the first company to be dual-listed on the New York Stock Exchange and SGX.

This could bode well for other global firms that want to have a dual listing in Singapore, to enjoy extended trading hours and tap Singapore as a gateway to the South-east Asian market, said Ms Tay.

By listing in Singapore, they can also access different types of investors here and in Asia-Pacific, such as high net worth investors who engage family offices here to manage their wealth.

Ms Tay added that due to pandemic-induced travel restrictions, there has also been a significant increase in trading activities, which could encourage companies to list to meet the higher demand.

Two firms have expressed their interest to list this month, according to Deloitte's research - Credit Bureau Asia, a credit and risk information solutions provider, and Aedge Group, which offers engineering, transport, as well as security and manpower services.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2020, with the headline 'Thailand beats S'pore again as top IPO market in South-east Asia'. Print Edition | Subscribe